Connor James Bourke, 12

A beautiful child, a messenger, a “man among boys,” has taken his place at Christ's right hand.

Connor James Bourke has returned peacefully to his Father in heaven at the age of 12 surrounded by his adoring family and loving friends after his courageous battle with brain cancer on July 22, 2011.

To be like Connor … his words we all strive to live by and will be forever ingrained in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

Connor recently completed the sixth grade at St. John the Baptist school with Mrs. Kramer as his teacher. Connor attended this school since kindergarten and loved his teachers and friends as his family. His passions were his Faith, family, friends, math, Cub Scouts, playing cards, collecting postcards and swimming. When Connor was in fourth grade he was diagnosed with a serious form of brain cancer. Instead of feeling the devastation we were overwhelmed with, Connor turned it over to God and offered his sufferings for the “sick and unhappy, so that people may live the life they deserve.”

His message of faith, family, and love spread far beyond the capabilities of a little boy … we are certain he had a little help from above. His song writing skills blessed the entire community with the No. 1 hit, Rich but no Money.
Connor’s Mom and Dad, Elizabeth and Brian Bourke, love him more than words can express. He is our “Connor boy” and we are heartbroken. His beautiful sisters Katelynn and Ashlynn and little brother Logan all adored him. We are simply better people because of the love and lessons Connor shared with us.

Wonderful grandparents who are honored to have him include Patrick and Ellen Bourke, James Wiegert, and Joanne Wiegert. Connor has two great-grandmothers, Verna Chiapello and Mildred Wiegert.

Connor very much enjoyed his wonderful godfather Corbin Sanft. Corbin was so good to Connor and Connor relished in telling the stories of their time together.

Very blessed aunts and uncles, proud to call Connor their nephew, will forever keep his memory alive. Paul and Philip Wiegert, Matthew and Barbara Bourke, Sabina, Jonathan, Simon, Timothy, and Ethan Bourke. Connor’s first cousins include Alyssa, Angelica, Anthony, and Damian Bourke. Also surviving are many other wonderful aunts, uncles, and cousins whom are mourning a great joy.

Our friends, who we consider our “family,” will forever miss our angel. The Mondays, Kettermans, Chabots and Biwers were there for us from the beginning and have checked on us daily. Connor and all of us have gotten through hard days because of your love & kindness.

A very special grandma Joyce Stockhausen will meet her much-adored grandson and walk him into heaven. She stated her grandchildren were her only hobby and we find great peace in her love.

A special friend, Treyton Kilar, will be awaiting his buddy as well, probably ready with a ball and glove.

Mass of Christian burial will be held at noon on Thursday July 28, 2011, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church with the Rev. Thomas Coyle officiating burial will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery in Fort Atkinson.

Visitation will be on Wednesday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on July 27, 2011, at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church. Then again on Thursday morning from 10 a.m. until noon.

Very special appreciation to the Rev. Tom Coyle, Mrs. Mary Kilar (“Auntie Mary”), and the entire St. John the Baptist Parish family, staff and student body for their most generous love and support over the last three years. You have loved our boy as your own. You have cared for him when he was too sick to care for himself. You were his second Mom, his teacher, his nurse, his friend, and you not only took care of him but also nurtured our family as a whole. Your dedication to Connor was unwavering and you were the hands and feet of Christ as you loved him as he has loved you. We love you and we know we will survive such an unimaginable loss because you will be there to hold us up as you did Connor.

We want to give recognition to coach Roger Rumppe and the boys Fort Atkinson 2009, 2010, and 2011 swim team. You gave Connor his wish, the wish that couldn’t be given by the average person. Connor got to meet his hero, the Olympian swimmer Michael Phelps, not once, but twice. Connor loved Michael, and he was amazing to Connor. You should all be proud of yourselves. Meeting Michael was great, and that would have been plenty, but you took your goodness one step farther and came into our home to spend time with Connor. The joy it brought him and the love that filled our hearts to see our sweet boy so happy will never be forgotten.

Since Connor’s diagnosis we have been fed very well as our hearts were breaking. We owe thanks again to the families of St. John the Baptist, the Mothers of Preschoolers group from Fort Atkinson, and our dear friends. A meal may seem like a small gift to give, but helped greatly so we could focus more time on our beloved children.

Thankfulness goes out to all who came or contributed to the Connor Bourke Birthday Benefit. We’ve never felt so much love in one room … and all for Connor. It showed us how many people he has touched with his loving grace, just as he has touched us.

We have also experienced a tremendous amount of support and prayers far beyond Wisconsin through the caring bridge community. Friends and strangers alike stepped up to help a little boy in trouble. Thank you and may God be with you always.

Love to Connor’s “great” aunt Janet for always coming to chemotherapy and to spend time with Connor. Just like Connor always has, we cherish your love.
Brian and Elizabeth are thankful for their employers and co-workers at Space-Saver Corp and Fort Health Care. Your support and understanding through these trying years has been noticed and appreciated.

To Dr. Puccetti, Dr. Neary, Dr. Williams, the sport therapy center, Rainbow Hospice and all the medical professionals that took such excellent care of our “love.” Your compassion and concern for Connor showed in the excellent care you gave him from day one. You will forever hold a special place in our hearts.
“Be watchful; stand firm on your faith, be courageous, be strong,” 1 Corinthians 16:13.
BE Connor...

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